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UG’s posture in the wake of court’s verdict is disrespectful to the law – Dr. Apaak

A Ranking Member on the Education Committee of Parliament, Dr. Clement Apaak has expressed worry about what he described as a deliberate disregard of a court order served the University of Ghana (UG) Management on its new policy with regard to students’ status in one of its traditional halls.

The court order comes after months of court proceedings which commenced in 2022 as the plaintiff [Some residents of Commonwealth Hall] petitioned an Accra High Court on the University’s new policy. According to the court order, an injunction has been placed on the University’s new policy until a final determination of the case.

However, there has been silence from the Management in the wake of the injunction.

Dr. Apaak, while speaking on JoyNews’ AM Show stipulated that the posturing of the University Management in the wake of the court’s verdict is disrespectful to the law, in that it has still not taken proactive measures to reverse the policy.

“We fail to understand why the University Management has not shown respect and acted accordingly. Because the injunction was granted days, way before what occurred yesterday. So the question then is why did the University Management fail to act on the injunction by putting in place the needed mechanism to ensure that as the court indicated, that the old arrangement should be upheld pending the hearing of the substantive case?

“So it is now clear that the University deliberately chose not to respect the court’s decision. What they’ve done is to go and bring the Police to intentionally harass students,” he said.

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The ranking member who had once been a resident of the Commonwealth Hall said that the University authorities are not setting a good example for students by failing to obey the laws.

A former Junior Common Room (JCR) President of Commonwealth Hall, Bernard Oduro Takyi has also argued that, it is worrying for “Professors and Doctors of the academic environment” who are the authorities, to disregard court orders, adding that they’re tainting the excellent image of the University.

Explaining further, Mr. Takyi said that the aggrieved students could have resorted to the use of violence in addressing their issues but chose to seek lawful proceedings. Therefore it is disturbing for professionals themselves to act contrary to laid down procedures.

He added that the University Management should seek redress rather than be silent, if it feels the court erred in its verdict.

Following another clash between Commonwealth Hall and the Mensah Sarbah Hall, the University Management decided to revoke the residential status of all the students and turn Commonwealth Hall, which is a hall for boys only, into a mixed-sex hall.

Some old students of the hall have criticised the policy of the University Management, saying the approach would affect innocent individuals. Other academicians have also expressed disapproval of the policy, saying that the resort to such mechanisms is an indication of Management’s consistent ineptitude in devising robust mechanisms to identify culprits of such incidents.

Meanwhile, in the wake of the injunction which has been met with utter silence from the UG’s Management, students took to picket at the Commonwealth Hall to drum home their request to be given back their rooms. They were met by Police guards who had to use force to repel the crowd.

Dr. Apaak has indicated that he intends to present the issue to the Education Committee of Parliament in order to resolve it.

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